Uhm. Nothing beats homemade pesto. I love it! And I make it whenever I have the opportunity with whatever ingredients that I have. That includes pea pesto, parsley pesto, wild garlic pesto, tomato pesto, chilli pesto … you name it. This time I really craved basil pesto and I have a beautiful basil plant growing in my kitchen that needed a little trimming. I didn’t have any parmesan in the house (Gulp. I know) So I decided to make it without, and it turned out just as lovely in my opinion.
I personally never buy the storebought versions as they all seem to have the same distinctive flavour that I’m just not too keen on. Especially when it’s SO easy to make your own and flavour it to your taste. My food processor is unfortunately still stored in Denmark, so I had to use a pestle and mortar.
As a result, you get a nice and chunky structure.
Basil pesto with no parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup basil, stalks and all
1/3 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup quality olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, smashed
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pack quality tortellini
A good handful of Pomodoro tomatoes, cut in quarters
Small handful of chestnut mushrooms
1/2 pack fresh Buffalo mozzarella, shredded into small chunks
Using a small, dry pan, roast the pinenuts until slightly golden and yummy smell. Keep tossing them as they burn easily.
In a pestle and mortar, combine chopped basil, roasted pinenuts, the smashed garlic and lemon juice. Mortar away until fairly smooth, making sure you bash up the pinenuts.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the olive oil bit by bit, and smash up the pesto until you have the desired texture.
Note: You can, of course, use a food processor if you want. Follow the same steps, instead of adding the oil bit by bit you simply add the oil in a slow stream until emulsified.
Heat up a large bowl of water, and follow the cooking instructions for the pasta.
Chop up tomatoes and rinse the mushrooms.
Once the pasta is cooked al dente, cool it down immediately in ice cold water.
Gently mix the pasta and pesto in the same pot as you used to boil it with.
Add tomatoes, mushrooms and the shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with black pepper.